Children often complain when they’re on vacation that they don’t have anyone to play with; consequently, many parents allow their kids to bring best buddies along for the duration. And why not? The upside of doing so is a happy boy or girl who is far more relaxed (and less naturally argumentative.)
To ensure that everyone involved has the best possible experience, check out the following ten vacation tips to consider when bringing your child’s friend with you on your travels.
Tip #1 – Talk to His/Her Parents before Mentioning the Idea
You may think that bringing John or Jane with you on your family vacation getaway is a terrific idea, but his/her parents could have different thoughts.
Before you tell your friend’s child of your plans, speak with his/her parents or guardians first. That way, if they nix the plan before it gets off the ground, no one will be disappointed.
Tip #2 – Honestly Evaluate Your Feelings about Your Child’s Friend
It may sound detached, but it’s critical that you, your significant other and anyone else who will be with you on your family vacation getaway enjoys being around your child’s friend for long periods of time.
Think of it this way: “Dennis the Menace” might be really cute in short spurts, but days upon days of his antics would wear even a saint’s patience thin! If you find yourself ecstatic every time your child’s friend leaves your house, it’s probably a bad idea to extend an invitation to join your family on vacation.
Tip #3 – Be Very Clear about Financial Expectations
Will your child’s friend be your “guest” for the whole family vacation getaway? Or are you expecting his or her parents to contribute financially?
It’s important to determine fiscal responsibilities and expectations before your family vacation getaway begins; otherwise, monetary concerns could make the experience a stressful nightmare.
Tip #4 – Allow Your Child’s Friend to Be Part of the Planning
If your child’s friend is vacationing with you, he or she should be treated as part of the family. This means that any travel planning you’re leaving up to the kids should include his/her voice.
Don’t overlook the importance of this step or you could wind up with a miserable travel companion who feels as if his/her opinions don’t count.
Tip #5 – Explain Your Family Rules to Your Child’s Friend
While on family vacation getaways, do you insist that all youngsters go to bed by 11:00 p.m. every night, no matter what? Is it expected that everyone sit down to breakfast by a certain time to enjoy a family meal before the day begins?
Although your child’s friend may be aware of some of your family rules and traditions, it will benefit him or her to be given information on familial expectations before the family vacation getaway begins. Otherwise, he or she will feel like the “odd girl/boy out”.
Tip #6 – Be Careful about Opposite Sex Friends Joining Your Family Vacation Getaway
Certainly, your little girl may have a best friend who is a boy. But that doesn’t necessarily mean he belongs on vacation with you.
Though some families are very open to the notion of opposite sex traveling companions for their children, this can result in sticky situations. If you and your child’s friend’s family aren’t 100% comfortable with this kind of an arrangement, choose a same-sex friend of your child to accompany you instead.
Tip #7 – Have Understanding for Your Child’s Friend
Even if you have the nicest family in the world and you’ve planned the most spectacular family vacation getaway, your child’s friend is very likely to become homesick at some point. Therefore, it’s important for you to understand and anticipate his/her needs.
For example, you can easily set dates and times for your guest to “check in” with family back home. You can also encourage your special guest to bring photos of relatives and pets along.
Tip #8 – Find out All You Can about Your Guest’s Health
The last place you want to be when you find out about your child’s friend’s severe seafood allergies is on vacation after he or she bites into a piece of shrimp. Before leaving home, make sure his/her parents write down all important health information, including the names and phone numbers of any doctors.
Chances are that you’ll never need the data, but it will come in handy if an emergency arises.
Tip #9 – Anticipate Disagreements
Into every life, a little conflict falls… especially when two friends go on vacation for the first time.
Whether you have boys or girls, it’s likely that they’ll tire of one another at some point during your family vacation getaway. So make opportunities to separate them periodically.
Perhaps you could take one of them with you to purchase some groceries or your spouse could take another to play a round of golf. Just as it’s imperative for couples to be apart, it’s good for a friendship to have a separation now and again.
Tip #10 – Take Plenty of Photos!
Finally, remember to capture all the moments of your family vacation getaway! Your guest’s relatives will absolutely love to have a record of his/her moments, and you’ll enjoy looking back on your pictures after years have passed.